Sunday, December 26, 2010

Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer

Who would have guessed that black radishes could be used to curry favor with the Germans?

Delacourte Press sent me a hardcover of this book for review (thank you).  It's written for ages 8-12 and is currently available at your local book store.

It's June, 1940, and Paris is occupied by the Germans.  Gustave and his family move to a free zone in Saint-Georges, but they find there are limited supplies and the area has some Jew-haters there, too.

Ms. Meyer's does a good job of expressing Gustave's confusion and frustration over the changes in his nice safe life of before.  She has based part of this story on the story her father told her about leaving France for the US because of the same situation in his life.

When you don't have much, it's hard to give up what you do have and take only a few things with you.  You also also end up losing your friends.  So when Gustave finds that a Catholic girl will be friends with him, he accepts that.  He doesn't realize that Nicole works for the French Resistance...

You can feel the danger as Gustave and his father cross into German occupied territory to find food.  You worry about his relatives that were left behind.  And you feel the fear of those of who try to escape.

This is an excellent introduction to Nazi-occupied France for your young one.  Let them learn about the horrors of war from a distance.  This mix of adventure and history should appeal to reluctant readers, too.

Check your local bookstore for a copy.  And happy reading! 

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